Psychedelic trance

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Psychedelic trance
Stylistic origins
Cultural origins
Typical instruments
Mainstream popularity high in Europe, Mexico & Israel
Derivative forms Dark psytrance
Melodic psytrance - Progressive psytrance
Fusion genres
Psybient - Psybreaks
Regional scenes
Finland - South Africa
Notable artists
1200 Micrograms - Astral Projection - Astrix - Eskimo - GMS - Infected Mushroom - Sesto Sento - Shpongle - Skazi - Talamasca

Psychedelic trance or psytrance is a form of electronic music characterized by hypnotic arrangements of synthetic rhythms and mesmerizing melodies. It first broke out into the mainstream in 1995 as the UK music press began to report on the exploding trend of Goa trance. Since then the genre has diversified immensely and now offers considerable variety in terms of mood, tempo, and style. Some examples include melodic, full on, dark, progressive, suomi, psybreaks and psybient.

The original Goa trance (or "old school") was often made with popular Modular synthesizers and hardware samplers, but modern psychedelic trance is typically made with VST and AU software sampler applications. The use of analog synthesizers for sound synthesis has given way to digital "virtual analog" instruments like the Nord Lead, Access Virus, Korg MS-2000, Roland JP-8000 and computer VST and AU plugins like Native Instruments Reaktor. These are usually controlled by MIDI sequencers within Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) applications. Emphasis is placed on purely synthesized timbres for programming and lead melodies. Tempos range across the spectrum depending on the style and approach of the individual producer although speeds between 140 and 150 BPM are most common.


[edit] History

The first hippies that arrived in Goa, India in the mid 60’s were drawn there for many reasons, including the beautiful beaches, the low cost of living, the friendly locals, the Indian religious and spiritual practices and the readily available Indian hashish, which until the mid 70’s was legal.

One of the first to arrive was a hippy known as Eight Finger Eddie and it was he and his friends who started the first ‘Goa parties.’ At the time, the parties consisted only of a group of friends sitting around a campfire on the beach playing acoustic guitar and dancing on hallucinogens.[citation needed]

During the 70’s the first Goa DJs were generally playing psychedelic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and The Doors. In ‘79 the beginnings of electro music could occasionally be heard in Goa in the form of tracks by Kraftwerk but it wasn’t until ’83 that djs Laurent and Fred Disko, closely followed by Goa Gil, began switching the Goa style over to electro which was now flooding out of Europe in the shape of New Order, Frontline Assembly, Front 242, and various other bands.

The tracks were remixed, removing the lyrics, looping the melodies and beats and generally manipulating the sounds in all manner of ways before the tracks were finally presented to the dancers as 100% Goa-style mixes.[citation needed] By ’85 all Goa music was electronic and people were constantly searching for new music to remix into the new Goa-style. It was impossible to buy this type of music in stores; even today most psytrance sales take place over the net rather than in physical shops. Arguably the first commercially released Goa trance tune came in ’88 and is accredited to the KLF with What Time Is Love. However, at the same time Goa music was being created by pioneers like The Orb, Juno Reactor, Eat Static and also by The Infinity Project.

By ’92 the Goa trance scene had a pulse of its own, though the term 'Goa trance' didn’t actually become the name tag of the genre until around ’94. New artists were springing up from all over the world and it was in this year that the first Goa trance festivals began, including the Gaia Festival in France and the now world famous and still running VooV festival in Germany.

In ’93 the first 100% Goa trance album was released, Project 2 Trance, featuring tracks by Man With No Name and Hallucinogen to name just 2. Goa trance enjoyed its commercial peak between ’96 and ’97 with a fair bit of media attention and some huge names in the DJ scene joining the movement. This hype did not last long and once the attention had died down so did the music sales, resulting in the downfall of record labels, promotion networks and also some artists. This ‘commercial death of Goa trance’ was marked musically by Matsuri Productions in ’97 with the release of the compilation Let it RIP.

Israel also played a part in this development. Until ’88 India’s borders were closed to Israelis. When the borders were eventually opened many Israelis, after completion of their mandatory military service, travelled to India looking for a cheap, fun place to unwind. When they returned over the borders to Israel they took music and drugs back with them and in ’90 the first psychedelic ‘full moon gatherings’ on Nizanim’s beaches began.[citation needed] The music was not as dark as modern darkpsy but different from what was already available.

The quantity of Goa music coming across the border into Israel and being played in the clubs provided a lot of inspiration to the younger generations of Israelis and soon new top quality producers were popping up on the scene, the most famous of which is Astral Projection.

However, the police clamped down hard on these psychedelic gatherings and with such a likely possibility of police intervention it seemed that a new formula was needed, one that would allow trancers to get maximum enjoyment from the party before it was shut down. This new formula became Nitzhonot, meaning victorious trance. This formula was basic, fast, and cheesy, with short intense sets; this allowed party goers to have a consistently intense experience from the beginning of the party until it was stopped.

In ’96 the music had changed so much from its Goa beginnings that the term Goa trance no longer seemed suitable and the new term of psychedelic trance, or psytrance for short, was coined to refer to this new style of music. The multi-layered melodies of Goa trance were stripped away and a darker and more repetitive from of music concentrated on rhythm and groove appeared. A landmark album of this change would be ‘98’s album Radio by X-Dream.

In ’02 however melodies became popular again, heralding the beginning of full-on psytrance.

Currently, there are many sub-genres within the psytrance scene, including minimal/progressive psy, morning psy, full-on psy, and dark psy. There has also recently been a movement attempting to ‘return to the source’ and bring back the original Goa trance sound, such as Metapsychic Records and Suntrip Records, which are dedicated to reviving the roots of the scene and promoting artists trying to recapture the original feeling of the music.

[edit] Style

Psychedelic trance has a distinctive, speedy sound (generally between 140 and 150 BPM) that tends to be faster than other forms of trance or techno music. Psychedelic trance uses strong bass beats that pound constant throughout the song, and overlays the bass with varying rhythms drawn from funk music, techno, electro, Middle Eastern music, and trance using drums and other synthesized instruments. The different sounds and rhythms and beats generally change every 32 beats.[1] Layering is used to great effect in psychedelic trance, with new musical ideas being added on at regular intervals, often every 4 or 8 bars. This buildup will happen until a climax is reached, and then the song will break down and start a new rhythmic pattern over the constant bass line. Psychedelic trance tracks tend to be 6-10 minutes long.[2] Psychedelic trance also makes heavy use of the cutoff frequency control of the modulating filter on the synthesizer. Reverb is also used heavily, with large, open sounding reverb present on most of the lead synthesizers in the track.

[edit] Related sub-genres

[edit] Psybreaks

Psybreaks or psychedelic breakbeat is a form of psychedelic trance originating in the mid 2000s, splicing breakbeat basslines and rhythms into otherwise heavily psytrance-influenced tracks.

Psybreaks are best performed live, allowing the DJ control of the spontaneous beat holdbacks, by reading the dancers. Break beating psy happens without losing the constant tempo when the beat picks up, and brief pauses are also fast natured.[citation needed]

Such pioneers of Psychedelic Breakbeats would include the Divine Soma Experiment [1] from UK and Mexico.

[edit] Full on

Full on or melodic psytrance (also referred to as morning trance, club psytrance and Isra-trance) is a style of trance music, a form of psychedelic trance that originated in Israel during the late 90's. Melodic psytrance draws its main influences from more radio-friendly genres such as uplifting trance (Nitzhonot and vocal trance) and electro house, futuristic melodies, occasional electric guitar performances and usage of vocals. The expression “full on” is taken from the first out of a seven compilation albums series, and the first album ever to be released under Hom-mega Productions in 1998, titled Full On. Some other sources say it comes from the Fullmoon festival's name, whilst others argue that it is derived from a phrase widely used to describe particularly high-energy music ("That tune is really full-on!").

The most easily recognizable element of full-on psy-trance is the so called "rolling" bassline, which crams two or three short bass notes in between each hit of the 4/4 drum. The result is a highly energetic, continuous sound, almost like the cantering gait of a horse. Monomatick(Jean Gattuso VS Diego Vieira)' track "punch the face" is a good example of this.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Trance music. A definition of genre. Trance, goa, psy, house, progressive and more
  2. ^ Easwaran, Kenny. "Psytrance and the Spirituality of Electronics". April 2004.

[edit] External links

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